Martha Mondays: Potato Zucchini Hash

May 17, 2010

Potato and Zucchini Hash from May Martha Stewart Everyday Food was our pick for today, chosen by At Least Twice a Week.  I love potatoes and am always looking for something new to do with zucchini. This recipe was pretty simple – fry up 2 potatoes (peeled and sliced thinly in small pieces) with half a sliced onion. Once the potato is cooked, add in 1 thinly sliced and cut zucchini. Salt and pepper it to taste. Martha says to serve with fried eggs, but I skipped that.

Very simple, and very good! I liked this, even though it sounded sort of weird (potatoes and zucchini?). It worked well as a dish though and was easy to put together.  I love it when Martha has me try something new and I am pleasantly surprised.

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MS Cupcake Club: Tres Leches

May 15, 2010

This month’s MS Cupcake Club pick is Tres Leches Cupcakes, from the Martha Stewart Cupcake book. I just finished making these. The batter was easy to make (even though I accidentally got egg yolk in the whites and had to start over). After you bake it, you are supposed to brush a mix of cream, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk on them. It made so much though and it took forever to brush it over and over on the cupcakes. I stopped when I had a few tablespoons left and the cupcakes looked pretty saturated.

I tasted one after they sat for 30 min and I didn’t care for it. It tasted very eggy and custardy to me. I then sprinkled my last bite with cinnamon sugar, and that was good, so I did it to the rest and put them in the fridge and am hoping maybe they will taste better cold later tonight or tomorrow. They’re also really wet, so maybe they will sort of set up once they’re cold.

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May 14, 2010

I’m embracing all spring has to offer and that includes trying some new foods. I’ve never had fiddleheads and when I saw them in the grocery store, I pounced.  I wasn’t sure what to do with them, so I checked Martha’s site. Her only recipe was to steam them and put butter, salt, pepper and lemon juice on them, so that is what I did. They weren’t bad, but I think you have to get used to them. They are a bit like asparagus, which can have  a strong flavor.

I did a little research after we had them and learned some interesting facts. Fiddleheads are actually ferns that have not yet unfurled. They’re named fiddleheads because they look like the curved top end of a fiddle. They have to be cooked to be edible (when I steamed them, the steaming water turned brown which was kind of icky!). I found some recipes here and will definitely try some of those in the future.

My next spring food experiment? Ramps!

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Sesame Chicken Legs

May 13, 2010

I have Lucinda Scala Quinn’s cookbook, Mad Hungry. Lucinda is an editor at MSL and I’ve always thought her recipes in the magazine were dead on. The cookbook is pretty fun and is supposed to be about feeding a family of men and boys. Although I don’t have 3 sons like she does, I have found some things in it to make.

Recently I decided to try her recipe for Crunchy Sesame Chicken Wings, but modified to my needs. The photo in the book looked fantastic and my kids are HUGE fans of sesame chicken. I was stuck with chicken legs though since I can’t get organic wings. I used 10 legs. The recipe says to mix up 3 eggs and coat the chicken in them. I used 1 egg and 1 egg white. I mixed in honey and sesame oil, hoping it would make this taste more like the Chinese restaurant dish sesame chicken.

Then you dip the wings in a mix of 1/2 cup sesame seeds, 1/2 flour, 2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/2 cup bread crumbs and 2-3 minced garlic cloves. Bake the legs on a greased baking sheet at 375 for 30 minutes, then turn it up to 400 for another 20-30 minutes. I lined my sheet with foil that I sprayed with Pam, and ended up sprinkling some olive oil over it halfway through.

The chicken was fantastically crunchy – Lucinda was a genius in constructing this coating. However, I felt like it was just lacking in flavor. If I make this again, I would either marinate the chicken in honey and sesame oil and maybe some soy sauce or I would try to coat it in just honey with a little water to loosen it up. My kids like their sesame chicken sweet and this wasn’t.  It’s worth making again if I can pump up the flavor b/c it was just so majestically crunchy!

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Martha Mondays: 5/17

May 12, 2010

Thanks to Karen at At Least Twice a Week for shaking me out of my work-induced stupor and sending me her pick for Monday – potato zucchini hash from May Everyday Food. If you need the recipe, let me know. It sounds delish.

A Juggling Act

May 11, 2010

One member of our household (who wishes not to be identified) has been experiencing intestinal pain for a while and I’ve finally convinced said person it is time to get serious about tracking down food causes. So we are investigating dairy and gluten as possible culprits. The plan is to take at least one full week to entirely eliminate each item (one at a time) from the diet, then add it back in and see what happens.

Sounds simple, but it’s so complicated to do. The gluten actually seems easier to me right now than the dairy, since there are small amounts of lactose in things that are made with small amounts of milk and butter, whereas it seems easier to just buy gluten free foods.

We’re trying to test the dairy this week. Sunday was Mother’s Day. Mr. MarthaAndMe made me a nice omelet for breakfast and I said I did not want to attempt to deal with the crowds in restaurants for dinner, so I cooked dinner. I really, desperately wanted fettucine with chicken and broccoli, but felt bad making it with the current dairy restriction for the certain family member (once we do determine what the cause of the problem is, I will make big changes to the entire family’s eating habits to encompass it, but am not going overboard until we figure it out).

I decided since it was Mother’s Day, I deserved to have what I wanted (especially since I was cooking it myself AND since no one had thought to actually run the dishwasher and put away all the breakfast dishes). But I was worried about the person in question, so I came up with a great compromise. I made some gemelli pasta (half a box). Once it was done, I scooped it out of the pasta water and put in some tiny broccoli florets and just let that sit a few minutes and it cooked completely. I cooked three chicken breasts in a pan with about half a jar of pesto. In a separate pan, I made a quick cream sauce with 1/8 stick butter, 1/4 cup cream cheese, 1/4 cup cream and some parmesan cheese to taste (with salt and pepper). I served all the ingredients separately so people could mix and match as they wanted. My thinking was the pesto was enough of a sauce for the pasta and the broccoli could be eaten separately (as could the noodles) for those who don’t like things mixed or with sauces. Those of us who wanted a regular cream sauce pasta dish mixed it all together.

This worked out quite well and was a pretty good solution to the dilemma, I thought. It also tasted really good! Of course, the person in question whined a bit about how he/she wanted the cream sauce, but we all survived.

If you have any tips for me on how to isolate a food allergy, I would really love to hear them. The initial testing isn’t getting us anywhere – no dairy for two days and the pain continues. But from what I’ve read we need to really give it at least a week. If we get nowhere, gluten is next on the list to eliminate. Wish us luck!

Martha Mondays: Quinoa Apricot Nut Clusters

May 10, 2010

Today’s Martha Monday project was chosen by Lyndsey at Tiny Skillet – Quinoa Apricot Nut Clusters. I was excited about this because it was totally different from anything I have made. There were a lot of steps in this though, mostly b/c Martha wants you to roast your oats, sunflower seeds, pistachios, and quinoa all separately. Eek. I bought pre-roasted nuts and seeds, so that helped reduce the time on this. With the quinoa, you have to cook it on the stove, then roast it, which took quite a while. Finally I had all my ingredients and I mixed them together. You’re supposed to form these into a cookie shape on a baking sheet and bake them. I could not get mine to stay together very well. I got them into blobs on the baking sheet, but when I took them off, they fell apart.

So it was messy. As for taste? It was definitely different. Mr. MarthaAndMe said he thought it needed some other flavor. I think maybe adding some cinnamon might help it. I’m not a fan of the apricot pieces either. The rest of it was pretty good and Teen Martha has been munching on it in little bits. This is great because it is gluten and dairy free, so if anyone in your family has those sensitivities, this is something everyone can enjoy.

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Martha Mondays: 5/9

May 7, 2010

The Martha Mondays project for next Monday is Quinoa Apricot and Nut Clusters.  Thanks to Lyndsey at Tiny Skillet for the pick.

Honey Cornbread

May 7, 2010

My kids love cornbread. A whole pan of it can be made to disappear in an evening in this house. I have not yet stumbled on a recipe that is perfect. Some are too dry, some not sweet enough and some have pieces of corn in them (ick). So I was happy to give Martha’s recipe a try, from May Living.

Mix together 1 cup cornmeal, 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tbsp baking powder and 1 tsp salt. Mix in 1 egg and 1 cup milk (the recipe says to use either goat milk or regular milk – I used regular) and 4 tbsp melted butter. The recipe says to use an iron skillet in the oven. I used a heavy metal round cake pan. Preheat the oven to 400 and heat the pan in the oven with 1 tbsp butter, then pour the batter in. Bake for 25 minutes then brush the top with 2 tbsp honey. This was a winner. Heating the pan in the oven meant that this got really crunchy around the edges but stayed very soft and moist in the middle. I liked the honey on top of it. My kids like to put honey on their cornbread and this was enough so that they didn’t need to slather more on. Very nice recipe.

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Corn Cakes with Goat Cheese

May 6, 2010

I admit that when I saw the headline for Corn Cakes with Goat Cheese in May Everyday Food that my mind immediately jumped to hoecakes, which I learned to make from Paula Deen. These are actually nothing like hoecakes, but at least it got me interested in the recipe.

This is quite simple to make. Saute 3 cups corn (frozen is fine) with 1 small diced zucchini for about 3 minutes, along with salt and pepper. Dump into a bowl, cool for a few minutes and add 2 eggs, 2 sliced scallions and 1/4 cup cornmeal. Measure out 1/4 cups of it into a pan with a little oil and cook until brown on each side. Serve with a dollop of goat cheese on each.

Quick, simple, and pretty tasty. I’m not much of a fan of frozen corn and prefer fresh corn on the cob if I’m going to eat corn (which I keep reminding my kids is a grain, not a vegetable), but I enjoyed these. The goat cheese is a nice touch.

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